Very dark…but if you watched the musical (or the movie-musical) you should expect that already.
-S-Pretty Little Family-T-
The mad beggar-woman was in the barber shop. She was singing, and Johanna didn't understand the words, but the tune was strangely familiar. She lifted the trunk lid just a touch, but the mad beggar-woman heard, approached slowly.
"I lived 'ere, once. Married an 'andsome barber…jus' like Mister Todd, really. Jus' like 'im…I was young an' pretty then, foolish. A judge was even courtin' me, though I was married, with child, then a young mother, a young pretty barber's wife and daughter's mother," she sing-songed. "And then the judge sent my barber-husband, my Ben away. He sent my Ben away and sent for me, one night, regret, 'e said, regret!" she laughed. "Regret…but all wore masks, the strangers, all wore masks, and I couldn't find the judge, you see. The judge wore a mask, too, and I drank and was lonely and missed my Ben. The drink went to me 'ead, y'see, and I sat to keep from fallin'…but then the judge came and said, not regret, but 'Finally…finally…' and then, and then, y'see, he took me and took my little girl from me. He took me and I was so shamed y'see, and ordered the poison, y'see…and he took me little girl from me, me little Johanna-girl was gone when I woke, and no barber-husband, no Johanna-girl, not for mad old Lucy…"
Johanna opened the trunk. "L-lucy? Your name…is Lucy?"
"Lucy Barker, I was…proper pretty little wife to an 'andsome kind barber, proper pretty little mother to a pretty little babe in our neat little flat on Fleet Street," the mad beggar-woman swept her arms to include the whole room. "An' then Judge Turpin came an' took me 'andsome Ben an' pretty little girl, little Johanna." The beggar-woman stepped closer, pulled away Johanna's hat and let tumble the blonde locks. "Like me old hair…before the judge came."
Johanna recognized that face, that voice, those eyes. It had been so long, but she still remembered. "Mum?" she whispered, and fell into an embrace with this beggar she had seen so often, but never truly seen at all.
Mr. Todd barged into his shop. "What are you – Johanna," he said softly, looking only at Johanna. "Anthony said – but I didn't dare hope."
"Do you…know me, somehow?" Johanna replied, trembling.
"Don't I know your face?" Lucy asked Todd, holding Johanna closer. "Yes, I know you."
Todd stared at them, bewildered. Johanna, his daughter, his Johanna, his girl, hugging some stranger – perhaps not stranger, one who said she knew him. He looked past the grey hair, imagining this stranger woman as fifteen years younger. He saw her with plump, healthy cheeks and fair skin, with bright smiling green-blue eyes…like his Lucy.
"Lucy," he breathed, unbelieving. "She said you were dead."
"The devil woman downstairs?" Lucy cackled. "Mischief, mischief, and the foul air from the chimney…mischief, mischief with Mrs. Lovett around."
"She said you took arsenic."
"Oh, I did…bet she never said I died!" Lucy sneered. "Never would lie, always had some moral, didn't she, Mrs. Lovett."
Todd – perhaps Barker, now, finally, once more – came forward. "I've done such terrible things. Far worse than Turpin accused," he began. "But to see my wife an' chil' again…that is somethin' I'd not dared 'ope since I was told…since Mrs. Lovett…" he took a deep breath. "We must all leave this place. With Anthony, perhaps…he's a good lad," he said grudgingly. "He saved my life, but he's not worthy of my girl. But first…revenge," he murmured, spying Turpin from the windows.
"No more blood, my love, my Ben barber-husband," begged Lucy. "Please no more? Such terrible things you've done, much worse he deserves, but not from you, please?"
Johanna suddenly realized that no matter how much she had always longed to meet her parents, she never realized they would be slightly mad. Especially her mother, but the arsenic was probably to blame for that. Turpin had taken so much from them…fifteen years of her father's life, not to mention his wife and child, his freedom, his livelihood. Her mother's sanity and husband and child. And her…Turpin had taken her parents, her freedom, and so many young suitors and friends, and so nearly he had taken Anthony. Her eyes flashed.
"I will kill him," she said in a small, but firm voice. "I daresay he won't expect it of me," she continued with a dark chuckle.
Todd sniffed slightly, eyes misty. "I'm impressed with your drive, my dear girl, but I do rather wish to shelter you from this."
"I think it's a bit late for that. Besides, Judge Turpin has always sheltered me from everything except himself and that wretched Beadle. I no longer wish to be protected, even if you are my real father instead of my disgusting guardian."
"Shouldn't kill, little turtledove," Lucy murmured. "It's bad for the soul."
"On the contrary. I believe it will be most satisfying," Johanna smiled.
"How will you go about it, dearie? With a knife?" pressed Todd.
"No…I think, a razor," she nodded once, trailing her fingers over the set of silver blades. "If you don't mind, of course," she bowed her head slightly.
"I will have vengeance…" he sang.
"Hug your girl to you," she embraced him happily. The end of captivity, of leering guardians and filthy Beadle-beetles.
Turpin knocked hard, and was admitted. "Mr. Todd – Johanna," he interrupted himself angrily, spying the girl. She dashed to the vanity.
"Shhh, Judge Turpin…you've startled 'er," Todd smiled, showing crooked yellow-white teeth. "Johanna was just telling me 'ow 'appy she was to see you…she was so overcome I'm afraid she must have been quite emotional."
Johanna smiled broadly also, "Mr. Todd is quite right. He has been ever so helpful. Anthony – that dreadful sailor-boy – certainly didn't wish to take no for an answer when he removed me from that mad-house. Oh, I hated it there, sir, but I knew I couldn't disobey you again…my heart couldn't take your disappointment," she cooed, hands demurely behind her back. She plucked up one of the razors and eased it open. "Mr. Todd has been very hospitable in waiting with me. He protected me from the mad beggar-woman, you see…" she continued. "And the whole time, all I could think of…was how much I wished I could be back in my little room, at your home, which you so generously provided for little Johanna," she flattered, stepping closer and closer slowly.
"It was the least I could do," Turpin smiled.
"Little Johanna…Barker," she said savagely, stabbing and slashing with the razor.
"She's just like 'er mother, isn' she?" Todd commented with misty eyes. "In looks. I s'pose that's why you were after 'er for marriage. But I do believe she takes after 'er father…in temperament. Did you miss ol' Benjamin Barker, Judge Turpin?" he grinned just as savagely, as he slit the judge's throat. Turpin's eyes widened with horror before closing for the final time.
Johanna wiped the razor off on his fancy britches, and Todd did the same.
"Now then, my lass, let's go meet your Anthony," Benjamin Barker suggested, putting away the razors and carrying them with him. Lucy took the box and his right arm, Joanna his left.
It was mentioned in a review that Lucy seemed magically sane. Trust me, she's far from sane. None of these people are sane, least of all Lucy, but Todd is a close second and Johanna is not far behind now. I'm just saying that this would have made an interesting twist in the film or play.
Mainly I wanted Johanna to inherit something other than her hair and pretty looks from her parents…her father's viciousness, for example. Cleverness, not so much, but you can't have everything.